No. 44: Former shop

44 Broad Street


No. 44 Broad Street was the fourth from the left of the thirteen houses dating from the first half of the seventeenth century that were that were demolished to make way for the New Bodleian Library in the late 1930s.

There was a narrow passage between Nos. 44 and 45, leading to the outbuildings attached to the back of the shop.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. No. 44 was then in the occupation of L. Thorp, and its frontage measured 7 yards 0 feet 10 inches. In 1774 Parson Woodforde paid many visits to “Thorpe the hosier”.

In 1783 William Thorp took his son John Wise Thorp into partnership with him and moved his hosier’s business from 32 Broad Street to this house.

The 1851 census shows John Charles Thorp (grandson of John Wise Thorp and son of John Thorp), a 28-year-old draper and employer of eight men, living over the shop with his wife and two young children. Three of his employees lodge in the house, and there is also a cook and two nursemaids.

A.H. Thorp advertisement

At the time of the 1861 census Thorp’s partner, James Waldie, a Scotsman aged 36, was living over the shop with his wife and two young children, along with three other shop assistants and four servants.

On 26 May 1870 an inquest was held into the death of the illegitimate child of Jane Hicks, the nursemaid at this house.


Right: An advertisement by A. H. Thorp & Co. in the Oxford Directory for 1861, showing that they were also undertakers.


In 1881 the house was occupied by Webber Patterson, an unmarried mercer of 46 and the employer of three men, two women, and a boy. Presumably his employees ran the downstairs draper’s shop which bore his name. Three of the shop assistants lodged in the house, and there were also two servants, one of them a draper’s porter.

See the bound typescript in the Bodleian Library entitled “The Demolished Houses of Broad Street and the Freeborn Family” (1943), attributed to Emily Sarah Freeborn, and the webpage by Alan Simpson which reproduces some of the material in it.

Occupants of 44 Broad Street listed in directories


Thorp, Linen Drapers, Silk Mercers, Haberdashers, Hosiers &c.

John Thorp (1829, 1839)
J. Thorp & Son (1846)
Thorp & Hiller (1852)
A. H. Thorp & Co (1861–1871)
Thorp & Waldie (1872–1876)


Webber Patterson (late Thorp & Waldie)
Linen draper, Silk mercer, and Undertaker


Richard Ward, Linen draper, Silk mercer, and Undertaker


Henry Edward Abrams, Dealer in antique & high-class furniture


Francis Cambray, Antique furniture warehouse


Cecil A. Halliday, Antique furniture warehouse

This house was demolished with twelve neighbouring houses in 1937
to make room for the New Bodleian Library

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